A proud Whittier native, Vanessa Tyson currently teaches in the Department of Politics at Scripps College in nearby Claremont. Her courses include Introduction to Public Policy; Women and Public Policy; Environmental Policy in the US; Black Americans and the Political System; and Marginalized Communities.

Dr. Tyson’s first book, Twists of Fate: Multiracial Coalitions and Minority Representation in the US House of Representatives (Oxford University Press, 2016), explored structural inequality in the United States, and how members of Congress have formed multiracial coalitions (particularly among Black, Latinx, Asian American Pacific Islander Representatives) as an improved strategy to provide for their diverse constituencies.

An expert on policy formulation, implementation, and oversight, Dr. Tyson has an extensive background in both US and California politics. Tyson spent years working as an advocate for sexual violence awareness and prevention, serving as one of the founding members of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Survivor Speakers’ Bureau, and starting a self-esteem/self-awareness program for female juvenile offenders through the Department of Youth Services in the State of Massachusetts. Tyson has been featured in US News and World Report, the Sacramento Bee, NPR, The Huffington Post, and many other news outlets.

A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Tyson attended Murphy Ranch Elementary School, Granada Middle School, and La Serna High School in Whittier, where she was raised by a single mother. She has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in politics, coupled with a certificate in African American Studies, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in political science. In past years, she has won numerous awards for teaching and scholarship, including prestigious research fellowships from both UCLA (2014-15) and Stanford University (2018-19).

In October 2019, Dr. Tyson received the “Visionary Award” from the American Psychological Foundation for both her advocacy and research on sexual violence.